At the beginning of November, it was announced that Seattle Reign coach Laura Harvey had stepped down from her role with the 37-year-old immediately linked with a string of new roles including with the England and US national teams. Harvey spent five years in Seattle and following his resignation, she admitted she will need to take a little bit of time to reflect on her tenure on the West Coast before considering her future.
Source: The Equaliser via Twitter
Vlatko Andonovski is the man set to assume control of Seattle Reign following Harvey’s departure although she has promised a full handover of duties before exiting the NWSL club. The new coach arrives from FC Kansas City and has signed a two-year deal with his new employers but the Macedonian released a heartfelt statement in which thanked all of the players, the media and the passionate supporters and said it wasn’t an easy decision to leave his position at FCKC. Harvey has happily agreed to work with Andonovski until the end of the year to ensure a smooth and successful takeover.
The former Arsenal coach has overseen a very successful period at the club and fans are sad to see her go. She helped them pick up two trophies during her five seasons in charge including securing the NWSL Shield for the first time in Seattle Reign’s history. She guided them to a second success in 2015 as she helped bring unprecedented success to the club.
It didn’t go according to plan at the beginning of Harvey’s tenure with the Warwickshire-born coach failing to win any of her first ten matches in charge but slowly the tide began to turn. They embarked upon a 16 match unbeaten streak under Harvey’s tutelage at the beginning of the 2014 season and the players were clearly responding to her methods. This helped her become a nominee for the FIFA World Coach of the Year although she was beaten by VFL Wolfsburg’s Ralf Kellerman.
Source: Seattle Reign FC via Twitter
Upon her resignation, Harvey released a statement explaining her decision to walk away from the club by saying: “I just wasn’t sure what I wanted – but I knew the club needed a decision about my plans. Given my uncertainty, it seemed best for all that I step away now to give the club a proper amount of time to hire my replacement,” before later adding: “It’s been a tough decision to make but I feel as though it’s the right one for me and for the club.” She reflected on her record-breaking spell by declaring: “We have stories and memories to last forever.“
She ends her time in the dugout with 51 victories, 33 losses and 26 draws and remains the only boss to win back-to-back coach of the year awards following her unrivalled success during the 2014 and 2015 campaigns. She can also boast the highest win percentage of any NWSL coach and can hold her head up high.
Harvey may have been a little vague with the reasons surrounding her departure and it’s left many wondering where her next role may be. She’s already been working with the US under 23s with many expecting her to assume a greater responsibility within the setup. However, she’s also been strongly linked with the head coach vacancy available with the England national team following the dismissal of Mark Sampson. Could she be tempted by a return to her homeland?
Source: NWSL via Twitter
She oversaw a successful period in charge of Arsenal Ladies, guiding them to FA Cup, FAWSL and Continental Cup glory before switching to the US and could be asked to head back to London for talks with the FA. With the 2019 World Cup around the corner, Harvey will need to decide on her future soon. She would be working alongside talented coaches such as Jill Ellis and Tony Gustavsson if she were to opt for increased responsibilities with the US national team, however, the temptation of a top position in the UK may be too much to resist.
The US are the current World Cup holders after proving successful in Canada beating Japan 5-2 in the final to secure their third title. As a result of their record in the competition, they have been priced up as favourites for the tournament once again. Those who are thinking of backing the USA to retain their crown in June 2019 will be able to use the £50 free bet available from Coral as outlined by Oddschecker to back the three-time winners. Many fans are calling for Harvey to be appointed as the head coach of the side but it’s more likely that she would simply be part of the team instead.
Arsenal assistant manager Kelly Smith has personally recommended Harvey for the England job but she faces stiff competition in the shape of Emma Hayes, who is currently in charge of Chelsea. She has addressed the subject, previously declaring: “If the FA picked up the phone and called me I’d happily have a conversation with them,” and is likely to be the first choice of many Three Lionesses fans.
Wherever Harvey finds herself, she continues to be one of the shining lights of Women’s football. She leaves Seattle Reign with a tremendous record and her reputation continues to grow with every role she undertakes. If the FA come calling, the 37-year-old could be in pole position to land the role and take England to the 2019 World Cup.